Healthy Booze: Drinking With Superfoods

Most people (and all doctors) agree that drinking large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis is most likely not good for you. Some studies have indicated that a glass of red wine per day could be beneficial to your overall heart health. Yet, other studies have attempted to debunk that theory. All I know is, as long as you have a healthy diet and stay active, enjoying a drink or two per week isn’t such a bad thing. Especially if your cocktails contains superfoods.

What exactly are superfoods?

Superfoods are natural foods that are loaded with vitamins, anti-oxidants and disease-fighting agents. Incorporating them into your cocktails makes you feel extremely vibrant from inside out. “Something that feels like you are getting fresh oxygen and blood into your body the moment it hits your mouth,” says Matthew Biancaniello, Consultant for Plan Check Kitchen + Bar in Los Angeles.

What are some of the most common superfoods?

Beets, blackberries, fresh ginger, blueberries, almonds, fresh herbs, stinging nettle, kale, heirloom tomatoes, arugula, walnut oil, celery juice, beet horseradish, raw coconut water, dandelion root, camu camu berries, cranberries, chia seeds, spirulina, avocado, and even aloe.

Why should drinkers order cocktails featuring superfoods?

In the 90s, cocktails were highlighted with sugary infusions and liqueurs. Luckily, during the recent cocktail revolution, bartenders have begun taking a step back into the “golden age of cocktails”. This was a world where drinks were packed with strong flavors and ingredients. “The trend now is fresher, more unique ingredients, as research is starting to point out all of these artificial sweeteners, preservatives, coloring, and additives are particularly dangerous to be putting into our bodies,” says Derrick Bass, bar manager at Willie Jane in Los Angeles. “Add that with the fact that alcohol is already correlated to liver cancer, people are more than ever seeking ‘healthy’ alternatives to cocktails.”

Superfoods can be added into cocktail ingredients in order to create a sense of being “guilt-free” while consuming alcohol.

“As beneficial as moderate alcohol consumption can be to the well-being of one’s mood, it’s no secret that it can also be hard on your body,” says Jeremy Lake, bar manager of Crossroads Kitchen in Los Angeles. “Commonplace cocktail mixers can have lots of processed sugars and chemicals that have a negative effect on your body.” Adding superfoods into cocktails balances that ying-yang effect on the mind and body.

When it comes down to it, consumers should eat and drink a large variety of foods.

“With variety comes a myriad of flavor, textures, and nutrition,” says Nate Chung, bar manager of Chicago’s Mott Street. Bartenders are ultimately motivated to create drinks that taste good. “That means that we are looking for more than just one or two notes.” Bartenders aim for three flavor points in a drink. “That might mean a base spirit to provide the body, a liqueur to add

some depth and structure, and a fresh vegetable/fruit/spice to punctuate the palate.”

 If you are going to have a few drinks Make sure to drink plenty of water with your cocktails. “So you don’t get dehydrated and you can still make it to yoga or your hike the next day,” says Biancaniello

Goji Berry Rickey from Derrick Bass, Willie Jane

You’ll need an 8 oz packet of dried goji berries and a 1/2 bottle of navy strength gin (I use Leopolds). Infuse that together for a week, storing airtight in a cool dry place, shaking once daily. After that’s done, here’s the recipe:

  • 1.5 oz goji gin
  • .5 oz agave (or other natural sweetener)
  • .75 oz lime juice

Shake, pour into a Collins glass and top with soda, garnish with lime. Congratulations, you just drank a superfood.

Go ahead and pat yourself on the back. Good job.